Various locations in NSW (see quick links below). I’m starting from Bathurst today.
At a Glance
Bathurst Railway Museum is located at Bathurst in the Central West of NSW and is well worth a visit. There are steam train rides (shuttles and journeys) hosted from here each year (Bathurst Railway Station), as there are regularly in other locations in NSW too. See the links below to find out where you can journey back in time, to enjoy the glorious days of steam in Regional NSW.
I’m 6 blocks away in the CBD, and I can already hear the whistle of the train at the station. The whistle is loud, and a different pitch to the regular horns of diesel trains, trucks and cars. Even this far away, the kids are agitated with excitement.
Arriving at the station, coal smoke wafts in the air. There are smiles on people everywhere. The platform is buzzing with people and of all things a brass band is playing. It’s a great atmosphere. People take their allocated seats, the train gives a loud blast of the whistle, the kids cheer and we’re on our way.
The views from the open windows are from a different perspective than from a car. This will be a new route for most people, where they are sitting well above the rails looking over regional countryside vistas. Passengers take photos of the landscapes, and of each other as these older carriages gently rock from side to side.
The shuttles last about 90 minutes, long enough for people to get a feel for travel from our times past. The excitement is still evident when people alight the train at the station, and the next group of passengers hop on. All Aboard!
Let’s face it – emissions from steam trains are dirty. Not a criticism; just reality. Sensory engagement will include smoke coming in the open windows, ash being blown in too which sometimes gets in one’s eyes / nose / mouth and which can stain clothes. Is this keeping me at home? No way. Too exciting to see these trains still operating.
Tickets can be expensive, depending on the event. I still get a kick out of looking at the loco and the carriages in the station, and taking a short drive out of town to a safe roadside location where I can see and hear the train coming, hear it’s whistle blowing and see the coupling rods and drive wheels working hard on tracks used mostly by diesel freight trains in these modern times. Give those passengers onboard a big smile and a big wave. Everyone will be waving back at you. It’s a cool feeling.
Sights on Route
- Happy faces of fellow passengers
- Storytelling grandparents
- Excited children
- Farm and bush landscapes
- Awesome views
Traps For Young Players
- Buy tickets online early
- Ash in the eyes
- Coal smoke in the lungs
- Long-drop toilets onto the tracks
- Check online for access limitations (e.g., disabilities)
Food & Drink
- Check out the local cafes in the towns hosting the events
Camping & Accommodation
- Lots of accommodation options in each of the towns hosting the events
Best time to go
Anytime. Check online for events for both steam and diesel heritage trains.
Do I take anything special with me?
Camera, and your sense of adventure. Take a ride in a historic carriage with some family or friends, or chat with an older passenger for a little while. You’ll be amazed about what you might discover from them.
This is what I experienced
This is a great day out. It’s a blast back in time to when the world was different. It’s a relaxing, enjoyable swaying ride listening to the chatter of passengers in the train and the choof choof choof of the locomotive working hard up the front of the train. Take lots of photos. I’ve included an assortment of railway images on this page, from a number of locations. There are so many opportunities every year.
Good parts: Everybody, and I mean everybody is happy and excited.
Tough parts: Nothing notable.
Crappy parts: Got a little bit of ash in my eye. All good.
Would I do it again? Definitely. Any weekend a steam train is in the area, I’m out there for a look and maybe even a ride.
Traps for young players: Depending on the event, tickets sell out early online, and can seem expensive.